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516 Lakeview Road, Villa 5
Clearwater, FL 33756
Phone: (727) 587-6999 | Fax: (727) 259-7818
Understanding Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)Coraz³n: Enfermedad arterias coronarias (EAC)

Image Understanding Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

To understand coronary artery disease (CAD), you need to know how your heart works. Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout your body. To work right, your heart needs a steady supply of oxygen. It gets this oxygen from blood supplied by the coronary arteries.


Healthy Artery
Damaged Artery
Narrowed Artery
Blocked Artery


Healthy Artery. When a coronary artery is healthy and has no blockages, blood flows through easily. Healthy arteries can easily supply the oxygen-rich blood your heart needs.

Damaged Artery. Coronary artery disease begins when damage causes plaque (a fatty substance) to build up within the artery wall. This damage could be caused by things like high blood pressure or smoking. This plaque buildup, called atherosclerosis, begins to narrow the arteries carrying blood to the heart.

Narrowed Artery. As more plaque builds up, your artery has trouble supplying blood to your heart muscle when it needs it most, such as during exercise. You may not feel any symptoms when this happens. Or you may feel angina-pressure, tightness, achiness, or pain in your chest, jaw, neck, back, or arm.

Blocked Artery. Plaque may tear, completely blocking the artery. Or a blood clot may plug the narrowed opening. When this happens, blood flow stops. Without oxygen-rich blood, part of the heart muscle becomes damaged and stops working. You may feel crushing pressure or pain in or around your chest. This is a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

Publication Source: U.S. Nation Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Bethesda, MD

Online Source: U.S. Nation Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Bethesda, MD

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2005-09-16T00:00:00-06:00


Patient Reviews

I was diagnosed with persistent AFIB several months ago. I found Dr. Norris by a referral from another physician. Dr. Norris scheduled me for a cardiac ablation without delay. He thoroughly explained the procedure, risks and benefits prior to the procedure. Dr. Norris and his staff exhibited exceptional professionalism and interest in resolving my AFIB. One month post-op I am rhythm and feel great. Thank you Dr. Norris and staff. I truly feel like I have my life back again.
-Ken Afienko

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516 Lakeview Road, Villa 5
Clearwater, FL 33756 (Two blocks south of Morton Plant Hospital )

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